HELP!! Can Someone tell me how to get THX sound from my Mac with FCP HD? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 18th, 2004, 02:59 PM   #1
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
Posts: 416
HELP!! Can Someone tell me how to get THX sound from my Mac with FCP HD?

Say guys,

I'm buying a Mac g5 with Mac OSX and FCP HD. I will be cutting feature films on this system. I need a method of creating sound in 5.1 THX for use in theaters (via digital projection).

I am a laymen at doing this. What I need is someone to tell me the best solutions that will enable me to mix & create 5.1 THX on this system, with the ablitlity to listen to is as I'm mixing, so I will hear EXACTLY what I'm going to get when it is played in THX movie theaters.

I know FCP HD does not do 5.1 mixing. I know that Pro Tools does not do 5.1. The Mac salesman I talked to said to create 5.1, I'd need a piece of software called Deck, but sense it' a $400 package, I'm sure it's not everything I need.

I'm assuming that getting the typical Mac-packaged Logitech Z680THX speakers along with a Monster Cable Interlink Light Speed Toslink Fiber Optic Cable is not going to be ample for sound monitoring.

For the real deal, I'm assuming I'm going to have to buy a particular sound card package, particular software, and particular speaker setup.

And believe me, I'm gonna need every last detail of what to get!!!!!

Can someone help me out here please. Be as detailed as you want, man, I'll need every word.

Thanks!!!!
Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2004, 12:46 AM   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
ProTools can do 5.1, just need the plugs.
THX? Or AC3? You can't author THX on non-certified systems, and it's not like you can just get certified. Takes a little work.
You'll need THX spec'd cards, monitors, etc. That alone can add up. Our THX certified system runs around 10K, Mackie 626 w/HRS 150 monitors, plus all the cabling, mounts, iso pads, etc.
Of course, you need a 5.1 audio card as well, but you'll be using ProTools for that. And no, you cannot use the Logitech Z680THX. They are a consumer MONITORING system, not a THX AUTHORING system. BIG difference.
Don't forget your room also has to be THX certified as well, to carry the THX logo. You, your room, and your product all have to be cert'd.
On the other side, AC3 does not need to be certified, you can author with whatever you'd like. It can sound like hell, but still be 5.1, and get away with it. People do every day.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2004, 10:31 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 20
Doug hit the nail on the head, THX is a lucas standard, and lately anything and everything has a thx stamp on it, because mostly you just need to pay for it. At one point, it meant much more than it does now.

AC3 on the other hand is a compression method for a dolby digital 5.1 stream.

Formats, to consider are:

Dolby Digital
DTS
and SDDS.

Dolby digital and DTS have about the same overhead to produce from pro tools or nuendo, but with both of them, I'm pretty sure you need third party plugs or a hardware encoder (go with the plug ins, they're cheaper, and more flexible.)

The big difference between dts and dolby digital is that dts is full bandwidth in the rears, ie, all of the satellites, have the same full bandwidth output... where (and I'm just shooting from the hip here) dolby digital in ac3 stream is half bandwidth to the rears, which practically means left center right (rears) sub... or lower response... as a result, DTS is much more highly regarded for film... BUT

the files are a lot bigger.

Probably more info than you needed, but if you need any advice in authoring, email or PM me, I'll be happy to help.

As for your z680s, I have those for my gaming rig, and they have been repackaged by alesis as a 5.1 monitoring solution... they're really not great for this, but they DO work, just cable it for the 6 channel direct out of your soundcard into the box and you can mix in positional audio.

Just make sure you also hook up the spdif out on your soundcard so you can listen to the final product once its been mixed and exported to dts or ac3.

best of luck.

Regards,

rich
Rich Frankel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2004, 12:52 AM   #4
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
Posts: 416
Okay,

I really appreciate it, but this is obviously out of my league here. Let's start over. Can you point me to a really good book on the subject of creating DTS using the poor-man's home method? Not sure where to start.

Thanks again!
Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2004, 01:31 PM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 20
A good book on creating dts... not really, what we're talking about here is basic audio mixing... dts is the end result, just like if you're mixing a bands cd, a stereo wav is typically the end result.

Lets try this:

Specifically, what are you trying to mix... you're doing features for digital projection, which makes me feel like you're not necessarily going into commercial theaters?

Why does it have to be in surround?
What are the requirements?

The simple truth is that FCP will not give you the flexibility to create surround mixes that sound good. for that you will need PT, Nuendo, possibly digital performer, or cubase SX. Any one of these programs will give you the tools...

My real recommendation, and certainly not a plug since I don't do that on forums, is to find a good sound guy with experience in surround sound mixing, because the requirements are just simply different than stereo.

Another important consideration, if you're doing effects, and positional stuff, you need to sync your audio engine to video. Most of the work I do, stays in Nuendo, but we also have hardware smpte for external video sync.

but what is your audio recorded on to begin with?

Anyhow, I don't mean to overwhelm, just seeing where you're at so I can be a better help.

I will look for books, dig through my college texts etc... see what would be good :)

Regards,
Rich
Rich Frankel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 21st, 2004, 09:28 PM   #6
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
Posts: 416
Rich,

I'm looking to produce audio for indie features intended for theatrical release. 300 digital screens in u.s. soon due to Landmark theaters, so that's most likely, but I'd like the ability to get picked up for wide release if possible. I'll be shooting video uncompreseed or CineAlta equivelency. With this, I'll need awesome 5.1 for theater projection and also later for DVD.

I've made features before and realize it's so much easier having control to do it all yourself (as much as possible). I'll be recording straight to hard drive via XLR input from a Sennheiser ME88 Microphone (good mic).

I'm looking to create 5.1 such that when it comes time to find distribution, or perhaps 35mm transfer, it will be as simple as possible, and i'll have as much leverage as possible.

These are my reasons for wanting to do it myself. This is why I'll want to hear exactly what I'll get in a theater (or at least as close as I can get).

Thanks.
Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2004, 05:15 AM   #7
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Keep in mind that most NLE's or DVD Authoring packages come
with a Dolby Digital AC3 (some 2.0, most 5.1) encoder these
days. I don't think I've seen a lot with DTS yet. Getting a DTS
encoder might be an expensive thing (unsure).

As rich correctly stated, AC3 & DTS are just output formats. As
is WAV/PCM/MP3/MPEG audio etc.
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2004, 12:53 PM   #8
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 20
Rob's right, a stand alone software DTS encoder, like the one offered by "Kind of Loud" is a little over 1000.00 so, yeah, that is an outlay,

I think my other post covered the benefits of the format, particularly for features.

If you go the nuendo route, I'm pretty sure the new version of nuendo 'surround edition' has DTS encoding built into its export options, but don't quote me on that.

On pro tools, Universal audio offers a dts encoder for under 1100.00 it's called Smartcode Pro DTS-DVD



Anyhow, I hear what you're saying about wanting total control, but what you're looking to do is high end post audio stuff, that people invest tens of thousands, nay, hundred of thousands of dollars in gear and construction to design studios capable of professional output.

That being said, prices are coming down, and smaller outfits are able to produce quality work with only thousands of dollars invested, but there are very few shortcuts to doing quality surround work.

(that disclaimer out of the way ;) )...

You're recording Direct to HD with your ME88, what other audio are you going to have in your features: sound effects, scoring, foley work etc... ?

How are you recording those things, do you have a studio, are you composing the score yourself, or do you have a composer, does he/she have a studio, do they have the capability to output in surround? Will the score take that into consideration...

I realize I'm asking more than answering, this is just the typical litany of questions you need to come to.

If you buy a mac, you can get a motu 2408mkIII interface, or an HD192, and install nuendo, or you can get a protools192 rig... but either way, to be able to function in surround you're looking at between 6-10,000.00 out of the gate, not counting monitors (I'm thinking computer / audio interface / software)

Hope this helps a bit.

Talk to you soon.
~Rich
Rich Frankel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 23rd, 2004, 02:21 AM   #9
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
Posts: 416
Here's where I'm at. I'm getting a dual G5 suited for editing HD (video). It'll have ample power/speed etc. I will be scoring my own music (via pro tools most likely . . . pro version is pretty much industry standard, right?) and I'll be doing my own foley. Sound fx I'll probably create some, and probably use some canned. So I guess I would grab the Pro Tools plug in to do surround. I've heard you can import the video into Pro Tools so you can sync to the frame. (Sounds hard to do, can PT do 24 frames per second?)

Where I get stuck is the monitoring system during mixing. How exactly do I set this thing up? Do I have the audio channels running out to a surround amplifier? I figured if I did that, I might be effecting the sound such that it's not what I'll get in a theater or on another system. I don't know much, but know enough that if I miss one thing, I might be screwed (lolol . . . is this not the core of filmmaking?) I already have a pair of Event Project Studio Biamplified PS5 speakers, which I assume will be ample to throw into the mix, but don't quote me. I don't know anything about the frequencies etc. that each 5.1 speaker handles. I know that the subwoofer handles certain frequencies below bla bla bla. And the center channel generally takes the voices. That's about it. I assume the left & right channels do most of the effects stuff. As you can see, I'm quite the layman, but I really don't have the money to pay someone else to do it. Generally, I'm good at adapting to most technologies in filmmaking, so if I can just figure out the basics, I think I'll pick up most of what I need to know.

I will be getting most likely DVD Studio Pro from Apple, which does 5.1 DD and DTS, but I figured sense this is only a DVD package, it may not help me for a finished product other than DVD. Wouldn't it be better to mix in 5.1 DD because DTS is not on all decoding systems, where 5.1 DD is?

Assuming I've got the Dual G5 with Pro Tools and surround plug in, where do I go from there to set it up and make sure I'm hearing what I'm gonna get?

This 192 HD interface you're talking about. I didn't really know audio came in "HD". But then, I guess it all depends on the amount of information being transfered, huh?

(Side note:) I have a digi 001 and pro tools le for pc, but unfortunately never had much time to use it. It runs on windows '98. Is there any chance I could get Pro Tools le or Professional mac software for my Digi 001 so I could use it on the mac (something tells me digi 001 isn't supported on mac g5)?

So far the only books I found possilby worth buying are:


"5.1 Surround Sound: Up and Running
by Tomlinson Holman "

and

"Pro Tools 5.1 for Music Production: Recording, Editing, and Mixing
by Mike Collins"


Thanks for all the help!
Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 23rd, 2004, 08:29 AM   #10
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 20
I think you're on the right track.

The HD in the hardware I'm talking about most likely stands for "Hard Disc" but regardless, its just a product id, and nothing to do with high def.

My guess on pro tools video import, is that most likely it won't do 24P, I'm guessing it'll probably support typical QT output formats, and probably isn't the best video support in the world.

Two work arounds I've used... you may be able to support a software sync between your nle and pro tools, or sync externally. I don't think digital timepieces are all that much.

I'm pretty sure the digi 001 is mac compatible, but if you're going to be authoring surround, you're going to want a 24/96 interface, and the 001 is only 24/48.

To set up surround monitoring:

I'll use your z680s as an example, because no matter what you do, you'll want 5 speakers that are relatively the same, and a sub...

Your interface, digi, whatever, should have six ouputs. ouputs 1+2 go to front LR, 3+4 go to read LR and 5+6 go to Center/LF

This can all be adjusted in your audio software by adjusting the bussing scheme, but basically that's how you do it.

with the z680's, you'll need 1/8" stereo mini jack to quarter inch or xlr converters depending on your interface.

If you want to spend the extra dough...
you could get 5 matching active speakers, in which case each output goes directly to the speaker...

As for the process of mixing and where what goes... most of the effects will be where the surround is used to create a sense of depth and perception. Dialogue is usually centered, and score is usually in the front LR speakers.

BUT

There are no hard and fast rules, like video audio production is a creative art form, and you can't let yourself get mired down in "this is the standard way of doing it"

Anyhow, I hope I got most of it, and was a little helpful.

btw, which HD cam are you using, how do you like it for features, have any sample???

Good luck.

~Rich
Rich Frankel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2004, 01:11 AM   #11
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
Posts: 416
Not using an HD cam yet. I'll be getting a Silicon Graphics box camera or a Summix brand when they're out in a few months (see threads under Alternative Imaging). Right now I just shoot 16mm and DV. Soon as my next script is ready, I'll get the new equipment.
Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2004, 01:38 AM   #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
Just to clarify....
I'm confused. You're talking bigscreen theatre, then you're rendering to DVD. The two don't meet too well unless you're doing HD-DVD, and there aren't really theatres that can manage this source right now.
Next....
There are indeed some hard, fast rules to mixing for surround, hence the need to know them. While it's all a discussion of creativity, there are some 'rules' that must be followed if downmixes are to be accurate, if phase is to be correctly attended to, and if the overall mix is balanced overall to the spec. This is why for instance, THX requires certification.
For accurate surround mixing, it takes more than 5 speakers, they need to be matched, correctly placed, and the room tuned to best allow the monitors to be accurate to true audio.
Surround is not 24/96, it's typically 16/48. If the source, which is likely audio from a DV cam based on the information above, then the source audio is 16/48, and 24/96 or higher won't do you any good. Especially if it will go to AC3 which carries its own issues as a compressed output/playback format. DTS is only a little less compressed, and again is 16/48.
Digi 001 is Mac and PC compatible.
ProTools can manage 24fps after a fashion, yes. matching it back after removing pulldown can be another story in PT or FCP.
Most surround monitors of quality are powered, thus eliminating speak cables and allowing for balanced audio runs, reducing the likelihood of noise induction.
No home gear is part of any professional authoring rig. No optical, no receiver, no simulated field imaging. Surround normalization is an art, same with LMP or Line Mode Profiles in terms of how you want receivers to read your AC3 metadata on playback.
Lots and lots of issues to understand here, but you've already discovered a couple books on the subject. Read em, and you'll have a very decent start.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2004, 02:41 AM   #13
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
Posts: 416
Douglas,

Well, I will be doing some surround mixes from a DV source, but after that, I'm going to be editing HD video (with an XLR mic recording directly into the computer along with the HD footage). So, there's that. But anyway, is Digi 001 compatible with ProTools Pro? Thought it was just Pro Tools LE? I assume if it is compatible with the Pro version, then I can use it for the 5.1 outputs?
Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2004, 07:37 AM   #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
I don't know if Pro will see the OO1 or not. To check that, I'd need to fire up Pro, and can't right now, as I'm on the road doing a training tour. I quit using ProTools fulltime about 2 years ago, and now only fire it up when I need it for comparison or to do an article. Don't have my 001 on the road with me. Sorry. I'd be really surprised if Pro can't see the 001
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2004, 09:31 AM   #15
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 20
I agree 110% with Doug... his post is an accurate reflection of what you need to do, to do theatrical surround correctly...

and Doug, I totally cede to your point about hard and fast rules... having learned those rules myself, sometimes I'm somewhat dismissive when talking about breaking them for the sake of creativity, and occasionally forget that not everyone trying to do this understands which rules you can and can't break to still end up with a great sounding end result. I was really only talking about positional panning, and carelessly at that. Anyhow, good post.

Regards,

Rich
Rich Frankel is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:43 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network